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December 2013

Free Science Events in Toronto for January 2014

December 28, 2013 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

Winter berriesThe Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the January calendar.

January's highlights include:

  • January 12: The Origin of Life, part of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science lecture series.
  • January 15: Aging: Maintaining a Positive Attitude, the presentation will explore the factors connecting age and mood, help dispel the myth that depression is a normal part of aging and offer strategies for staying mentally fit as you age.

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

January's highlights include:

The Best Cookbooks of 2013

December 27, 2013 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

It’s that time of year again. It’s the end of the year and the time where people pick their favourite books published this year. There are a number of lists out there: best science, children’s, business and e-books.

I've decided to share some of the best cookbooks of the year. Here are the best cookbooks selected by various media/news organizations (click on the organizations for the full list):

The Globe and Mail:

Every grain of rice  How to feed a family  Daniel  In the charcuterie


Cooked  Modern art desserts  Vegetable literacy  Scandinavian classics

Entertainment Weekly:

Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie book  Ottolenghi  Sauces and shapes  Spain

The Huffington Post:

The Gramercy Tavern cookbook  Duck, duck, goose  Manresa  The little Paris kitchen

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? You can also find some of the favourites from this year in e-book format:

Japanese soul cooking  The A.O.C. cookbook  Pok Pok  Ivan ramen
Vedge  L.A. son  Eat  Consider the fork

I hope you’ll enjoy these cookbooks over the holidays. Do you have any favourites from 2013?


Winter is here. Play it up!

December 23, 2013 | Ann | Comments (0)

How to Remove A Stuck Tongue From A Frozen Surface on

Two days ago, the Winter Solstice arrived and (happily) the daylight hours will increase from this point forward. 

So, if you are stuck on what to do when the temperature dips below zero degrees Celsius, here are some winter activity suggestions available:


Winter Activities in Ontario Parks on Pinterest
Credit: Pinterest features Ontario Parks
  • is a good place to find the latest events happening in Toronto.
  • has a Canada Winter Planner which is worth glancing through. 
  • Discover Canadian Outdoors has a good listing of Canadian winter activities.
  • City of Toronto website has a webpage called, Visiting Toronto which offers things to do, festivals and events, and how to get around the city.


North York Central has a good selection of titles available on winter outdoor activities:

Let It Snow on Winter Five Windows on the Season at (ebook) Mountaineering on
Fifty Places to Ski & Snowboard Before You Die on Winter Backpacking on Four Seasons of Travel on

Enjoy the upcoming Holiday Season and try some fun and cool adventures.

NYCL Talk: Contemporary Canadian Architecture

December 20, 2013 | Muriel | Comments (0)



Come and join us at North York Central Library,

designed by renowned Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, for a talk by

Marco Polo, from Ryerson University's Department of Architectural Science, on:


Contemporary Canadian Architecture

Tuesday, January 14 at 7 p.m.

in the North York Central Library auditorium

Please call 416-395-5639 to register.


Contemporary architecture in Canada reflects the broad range  of the
country's bioclimatic regions, geography, urban centres and landscapes.
While this results in considerable regional diversity, Canadian architecture
can also be understood in the context of several key themes that inform
contemporary design and production.  This presentation will explore how
these forces and themes give shape to contemporary architecture in
Canada, and will also consider the impact of global architectural culture,
the increasing influence of Aboriginal traditions and an emerging interest
in the far north as sources of inspiration.


A Concise History of Canadian Architecture   A Guide to Canadian Architectural Styles   Architecture and the Canadian Fabric

 Global Citizen   Frank Gehry in Toronto   Arthur Erickson


The best science books of 2013

December 13, 2013 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

Every December I like to spread the word about some of the great popular science books published over the course of the year.

Here are selected titles from lists of the best science books of 2013. I've chosen books on a broad range of subjects available in a variety of formats:


From the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2013:

also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook 

The Cancer Chronicles: unlocking medicine's deepest mystery by George Johnson

This a thoughtful look at the history of cancer and recent developments in research and treatment from a leading science writer. It also describes in moving and compassionate terms the cancer journeys of patients and families - based on his own experiences.




Knocking on Heaven's Door: the path to a better way of deathKnocking on Heaven's Door: the path to a better way of death by Katy Butler

This is a timely book by an award-winning science writer about the end-of-life decisions faced by today's families. The author's experiences helping her own parents in their last years illustrate larger themes about the challenges and rewards of caregiving, the value of life-extending medical interventions and knowing when to let go.



also available as an eBookTo Save Everything, Click Here: the folly of technological solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

Contoversial internet critic Morozov argues that "solutionism" - the idea that all problems have a technological solution - will result in tech companies rather than elected governments setting the public agenda. He discusses how the tech industry is framing and controlling debate and his concerns about how our increasing dependence on the Internet will effect social and political discourse. Get a taste of his arguments in his recent essay in Frankfurter Allgemeine.




From The Christian Science Monitor 15 best non-fiction books of 2013:


  Engineers of Victory: the problem solvers who turned the tide in the Second World War
Engineers of Victory: the problem solvers who turned the tide in the Second World War by Paul Kennedy

This is the story of the technical innovations that, perhaps, were the margin of victory for the Allies in World War II. Yale historian Kennedy shows that the strategies of political and military leaders could not have been implemented without the innovative thinking and technical skill of scientists, engineers and ordinary soldiers.



also available as an eBook, an audiobook and a Talking Book (for print disabled customers)The Telling Room: a tale of love, betrayal, revenge and the world's greatest piece of cheese by Michael Paterniti

Paramo de Guzman is of one of the world's finest, rarest and, thanks to the success of this book, most famous cheeses. The author seeks out the cheese's maker in a picturesque Spanish village, intending to tell his story, and is drawn into the dark side of village life.






From The Globe 100 Guide to the Year's Best Books(The Globe & Mail):


also available in large print, as an audiobook and as a talking book (for print disabled customers)

Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal by Mary Roach

From the author of Stiff, Spook and Bonk comes this look at the alimentary canal. As usual, Roach seeks out expert answers to the questions we wonder about but are reluctant to ask. Her witty style and humorous anecdotes make this an entertaining as well as an educational read.




also available as an eBook

The Once and Future World by J.B MacKinnon

Canadian writer MacKinnon encourages us to see the world as it was before our relentless reshaping of the landscape, while admitting that our capacity to do so is diminishing as our memories fade and our imaginations fail. Like George Monbiot (Feral: rewilding the land, sea and human life), MacKinnon advocates rewilding to allow ecosystems to return to a natural balance and so that we can experience the wonders of nature before they are lost forever.




 From Booklist's Top 10 Science & Health Books: 2013:


Imperial Dreams: tracking the imperial woodpecker through the wild Sierra MadreImperial Dreams: tracking the Imperial Woodpecker through the Wild Sierra Madre by Tim Gallagher

Cornell ornithologist Gallagher travelled to Mexico's rugged mountain interior in search of the imperial woodpecker, last seen in 1956 and likely extinct. He tracked down people who claimed to remember the bird and searched the areas where it was last seen. He writes with such enthusiasm about the Sierra and the people who helped him with his search that we understand why he persisted despite harrowing encounters with members of the drug underworld. Universally praised as an example of nature writing at its best.


Letters to a Young Scientist

Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson

Eminent biolgist and Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson distills a lifetime in science into this slim volume of letters for young people considering a scientific career. He tells them that passion and diligence are as important as intelligence and calls for a closer relationship between the sciences and humanities to encourage creative solutions to the world's problems. He uses examples from his own life and career to illustrate lessons from which we can all benefit.



Tesla: inventor of the electrical age

Tesla: inventor of the electrical age by W. Bernard Carlson

People continue to be fascinated by the Serbian-born inventor and genius Nikola Tesla, best known for the induction motor, the Tesla coil and as a proponent of AC current. Carson describes Tesla's inventions in the context of the early years of electricity and provides more technical background than previous biographers. Reviewers are calling this the authoritative Tesla biography - scholarly but also an engaging read.




From New Scientist's The Best Science Books of 2013:


Ginkgo: the tree that time forgot

Ginkgo: the tree that time forgot by Peter R. Crane

The gingko is our oldest tree species, often called a living fossil because it is closely related to trees which lived over 200 million years ago. It was saved from extinction only when people began to appreciate its value as a source of food and medicine and as a hardy urban street tree. The author, the former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, was inspired by their "old lion" gingko which was planted before 1762. Another example of great natural history writing.


The Anatomy of Violence: the biolgical roots of crime

The Anatomy of Violence: the biological roots of crime by Adrian Raine

The controversial theory that criminal behavior is at least partly rooted in biology is re-examined by neurocriminalogist Raine in light of new tools (brain imaging, DNA testing) that have enhanced our ability to study the brain. Here he presents the latest research to support this theory and explains it in reference to some famous criminal cases. He poses questions about the legal and ethical consequences of being able to test individuals for risk factors. If violent behavior is linked to biology, he suggests, then future preventive measures and treatment options may reduce risk.

available as an eBook

Beyond the God Particle by Leon Lederman

This is a follow up to Lederman's 1993 book The God Particle.This time he tells the story of the Higgs boson particle, discovered at CERN in 2012, and discusses the future of particle physics research. Lederman won the Nobel prize for physics in 1988 for his work on neutrinos. This is a book for physics enthusiasts.




Happy holiday reading!

Winter Holiday Concert For All Ages: Cassava Latin Band at North York Central Library

December 5, 2013 | Muriel | Comments (2)





Winter Holiday Concert For All Ages: Cassava Latin Band

at North York Central Library Concourse

Friday, December 27, 2:00 p.m.

Sing!  Dance!  Clap!  Warm up the winter with the alluring rhythms of South America.  All ages, drop-in, no registration required.


Cassava Latin Band is a Toronto-based band which performs different styles and rhythms from many areas of Latin America.  The music  reflects the colour and flavour of Latin styles such as: salsa, cha-cha-cha and bolero from Cuba; bossa nova and samba from Brazil; cumbia from Colombia; and contemporary Latin jazz and fusion.


          The Latin Beat    Bossa Nova    The Magic of Latin Dancing





The Social Aspects Of Foo-ood!

December 2, 2013 | Ann | Comments (2)


Link connects to Outrageous Food from The Food Network

Thanksgiving Day and Halloween provided some interesting caloric hurdles to overcome.  The Winter Festive Season is coming up and packed with holiday cheer and opportunities for more food-related celebrations.

   Festive food on


It appears as though we humans never seem to get a break from food temptations.  Television advertisements, cooking channels, billboard signs, grocery flyers, and online apps encourage us to feast and dine relentlessly with mouth-watering images and meal deals.  Food is viewed in so many ways as a recreational activity, a way of life, a personal style, and as a voracious addiction

Preparing Haggis on Robert Burn's Birthday from The National Geographic


It is a difficult situation, to say the least, to make sense of this constant food bombardment from social media.  Fad diets in the market may fail to help people achieve their goal weight.  Many Nutrition experts offer suggestions and publish popular titles emphasizing determination, willpower, exercise, and a sensible eating plan.  Knowledge about how food is perceived, utilized, and created in social media may help in recognizing why food culture becomes so deeply ingrained in society. 


Here are some titles worth ingesting: 

How Food Made History on The Table Comes First on Anything That Moves on Food Fight! on
From Scratch at Edible History Cultural Politics on Waste on Cuisine & Culture on

May your winter festivities be aglow with joy, good appetite, and some rich hearty reading.

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